Glass and Suso spent the first day on The Screens tuning instruments, working to find a common musical language. “You get down to basic things, like what key you’ll play in and how the pieces go together. Suso had also brought a balafon, but we discovered its tuning system was incompatible with the piano’s. The fourth interval of the scale was a bit higher on the balafon, while the second was a little lower. You can’t re-tune the piano either, so there were technical problems that we were forced to deal with”.
Glass speaks of “Spring Waterfall”, the music he and Suso created for Jali Kunda, as a “guided collaboration”. First, Suso laid down a kora track. Then Glass created three tracks, each focusing on a different range of the piano (bass, mid-range, and treble).
“The best way to make music with Suso is to talk about it as we play”, says Glass. “His isn’t a tradition that’s strongly analytical. Of course, the training’s extended-when the children are very young they learn hundreds of songs. In the process, the formal history of the music is conveyed”. Still, “it was easy to tell if Suso liked what I was doing”, says Glass, “because he’d give me a big smile”.